"We Value Diversity, but…" Academic Achievement of White, Middle Class Elementary Students in Segregated and Integrated Schools
Pacific Lutheran University
Does academic achievement of elementary school children from white, middle class backgrounds differ depending on the racial makeup of their school?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
- Accounting for the effects of student gender, peer poverty and student prior achievement, the percent minority students in schools appears to have no significant relationship to White, middle class students' achievement scores in reading or in math.
- White, middle class students in schools with between 10% and 19.9% minority populations have a mean effect if 2.25 point higher than their more segregated White peers.
- White middle class children in schools with between 35% and 69.9% minority have a positive mean effect of 2.288 over Category 3.
- Gender is significant in explaining 3rd grade math and reading scores.
- One of the strongest predictors of third grade achievement was achievement measured at the very beginning of kindergarten.
- White, middle class students' IRT scores suggest that White, middle class students in schools with varying percentages of children poverty of any race fare as well as those in largely middle class schools.
- Percent minority only mattered to white academic achievement at the highest concentrations of African American students.
- In general, given a school with anything from minimum to maximum integration with students of color, one can expect White, middle class children to do equally well in their academic achievement.
Academic Achievement, Classroom Composition, Composition, Diversity, Elementary School, Integration, Math, Reading, SES, SES Composition
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Kindergartners through Elementary School Students
Unit of Analysis:
- Spring Third Grade restricted-use data of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort
- Sample of 2,217 children that represent each of the original ECLS geographic areas, all of the 8 community size designations, and evenly divided between boys and girls.
- Isolates students who attended public school, who had not moved schools, who were in 3rd grade, who were identified as white in the composite race variable, and who fell into the 3rd or 4th quintiles for SES (middle class).
- DV: Two direct cognitive assessments in reading and in math (score obtained by administering routing tests)
- IV: Percent minority students in the school, percent free lunch eligible students, percent reduced lunch eligible students, students' composite gender, students' fall kindergarten achievement scores for math and reading (prior achievment) gender, etc.
- Students divided according to the percentage minority in their schools: Category 1: segregated white schools Category 2: slightly integrated schools Category 3: Moderate integration ("includes tipping point" for white flight) Category 4: Full integration Category 5: Segregated minority schools